Today's post is by Rod Burkert. In one way, shape, or form, Rod has been performing business valuations since the late 1980s. In July 2000, he started Burkert Valuation Advisors in Philadelphia where he ran a "traditional” valuation practice for 10 years.
From March 2010 to March 2022, Rod traveled full-time throughout the US and Canada in an RV with his wife and their dogs. When he saw the possibilities of a location-independent BVFLS practice, he started rbCOACHING, which focuses on strategies, tactics, tools, and tech that can build/grow/scale BVFLS firms.
Today, Rod has settled in Bisbee, AZ and focuses solely on his practice building coaching … all created by leveraging his professional network, content marketing, social media, virtual assistants, and available technology.
If you want to grow your network of leads, prospects, clients, and referral sources then LinkedIn is probably the best social media platform to jump into. Most of you are already playing in that sandbox anyway, and with a few tweaks you can do better. MUCH better.
If you didn’t know, from 2010 to 2021, my wife and I lived, worked, and traveled full time in an RV. And almost all of my new contacts over that span came through LinkedIn ... which just goes to show the power of the platform. But one of my pet peeves is seeing the shockingly poor way we connect with each other.
Don’t Default to the Default
I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
This is LinkedIn’s default invitation for making connections.
Why? Who are you? Do I know you? What do you want?
These are the questions I ask when I receive that message. And because I’m a savvy LinkedIn user I’m also wondering why I got the default invite. (Don’t we all want to feel a little special?)
If you don’t want the people you’re connecting with to ask those kinds of questions, you need to customise your invites.
Crafting a LinkedIn Invitation to Connect
There is an etiquette to connecting on LinkedIn, at least among the people who do it well. Think of connecting on LinkedIn as a face-to-face conversation. You don’t introduce yourself the same way on every occasion, right? There is always a context to how you frame your opening move. Why should your invitation to connect on LinkedIn be any different?
I have different messages that I use to connect on LinkedIn. Just to give one example, if I see someone who viewed my profile and is not a connection:
Hi [first name]. I love when LI tells me people have viewed my profile. Were you able to find what you were looking for?
Please accept this invitation to connect - we both know these requests can be a crapshoot, but my interest is solely to build a quality network with good BVFLS people.
I hope you can see that customised invitations like these are more likely to accomplish your objective of making valuable connections while also conveying a glimpse of your intent and personality.
Accepting a LinkedIn Invitation to Connect
Now go back to that imaginary face-to-face conversation … but this time someone has introduced herself to you. Do you turn your back, walk away, and leave her wondering if she will ever hear from you again? Or do you say something like: “Hey! Thanks for introducing yourself. What you do is interesting. Is there anything I can do to help you get what you want?”
If the answer seems obvious, then what do you do when you accept someone’s invitation to connect on LinkedIn? Do you just hit the “Accept” button – maybe after reviewing the person’s profile? Then move on because work and life are coming at you at 100 mph and, you know, you’re busy?
If you do, you may waste an opportunity to build a relationship or, perhaps, even sell a service. What if your new connection – someone who already made the effort to reach out to you – just needs a little nudge in the right direction to make the ask?
Here’s what I do … I accept the invitation and send offer this response:
Hi [name]. Thanks for reaching out and connecting … much appreciated! I see from your profile that [list a commonality]. Is there a specific reason you connected? What can I do to help you?
Generally, everyone answers me back with something. It would be rude not to, right? THAT is the beginning of an online conversation. And you’d be surprised by the number of times people want my advice, recommendation, or service … which allows me to demonstrate how I can provide value to the budding relationship.
Everyone has a different idea of what a successful practice is. The practice you want is personal because it is based on what “successful” means to you. I help practitioners focus on the strategies, tactics, tools, and tech to build/grow/scale their versions of successful practices. If you want some help with that, email me at email@example.com